In 2020, I celebrated my 60th Jubilee of vowed monastic life. At that time I reflected on some key experiences that had impacted me during my Benedictine journey. For me, the touchstone of monastic life is a small piece of the Community’s vision “we will be radical signs of God’s love and compassion.” This touchstone began to emerge when I worked at St. Cajetan’s, an inner city parish in Denver, in the early 1970s. It was there I discovered the richness, beauty and values of the Hispanic community. This touchstone deepened during a three week-experience in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 1985, where I found myself drawn to put on the lens of seeing and praying through the eyes of our Hispanic sisters and brothers in a less developed country. This encounter left my heart singed and broken open. I realized that it was time to speak the truth in love, not counting the cost — to speak for those who have no voice.
I remember with gratitude and joy each of the ministries in which I have served: teaching children and adults in education and religious education, liturgist for the Archdiocese of Denver and Community, and being part of the beginning and the evolution of the Benedictine Spiritual Formation Program (now expanded to Global On-line). I often quote Sister Johnette Putnam, OSB … “from transformed hearts comes a transfigured world” because I believe this is at the heart and purpose of this global ministry. My greatest transformation took place when I served my community for four years as Assistant Prioress and fourteen years as Prioress. I feel blessed with the gift of discovering the inner beauty and depth of each Sister as well as her own limitations and fragility. I continue to rejoice at how we are ‘at home’ in our new monastery on Benet Lane.
There are two other experiences that have had a tremendous impact on my life. In 2000, during a month’s trip to Laos and Cambodia, I witnessed the consequences of war and the suffering that our Asian sisters and brothers have endured. When I returned the burning question then became “What is enough?”
As I was finishing my sixth year as prioress in 2011, I was asked to serve as administrator for the first Benedictine Community in the United States, St. Joseph’s Monastery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania. Juggling the call to St. Mary’s and the community requirements in Colorado proved to be somewhat daunting. I served this small community of seventeen for a little over a year: sleeping on the fourth floor of the original monastery built in 1868, living, praying and journeying with these lovely women who struggled with monastic life in the 21st century, and holding their intense love of God deep in my heart.
All these experiences have had a profound effect on how I now experience my God and see my Community and ministry. I often repeat my initial touchstone for her monastic life… “we must be radical signs of God’s love and compassion in this wounded world.”